Post by Crow McMorris on Mar 13, 2015 17:23:51 GMT -5
The Thick Fears No Dead
Chapter One: “Dreams In A Japanese Garden”
The thirteenth hour approached as the shoreline belonged to the dead. Night concealed the days brutal fury as a crimson tide of blood and seawater crashed against the rocky Poon Guinea beachhead. This was guerilla warfare with a foe beyond the heartbeats of a normal, rational world. An undead quarry, hunted from the shadows by a man they called, Scarecrow.
Corvus Cane, The Scarecrow, a Ronin in an unnatural war to free a land from the necromantic grasp of a deranged despot simply baptized, The Baron. Days previously, Crow had offered his assistance and blade to Poondock stalwart Kaz Mazy, the accomplished protegee of erstwhile pantheon member, Bobby Cairo. The adopted nation of one...Odin Balfore. A matter of honor from one warrior to another. To protect a country. To overthrow a coup. To give back freedom to a people that had cherished the concept with a vigor that roused the murder machine’s cold, jaded spirit. Fifty stars, and thirteen bars, the green and the black. It had inspired, Crow. Motivated him. But to see that under threat now also reminded him of his own losses. His wife, his mother, his sister. Carried away from existence on a wave of greed and hate. Drowned beneath the torrid surface of brutal history.
Sofia now faced such a fate, something Crow could not allow. WOULD not allow.
Hugging the lapses of moonlight along the rocky beach line, Crow eased himself ashore and surveyed the carnage that befell his salt stinging eyes. The ravenous dead were feasting on the carcasses of a stunned, overrun militia. Young men and woman, hastily dressed in military attire, who attempted to block a barrage of death and hate that befell them. Teenage stragglers, ill equipped and under-trained to cope against a battle hardened human, undead army. This was the south side of the island, it’s populace more accustomed to the intricacies of fishing than warfare. Now these former fishermen were being dined upon by their infected zombie brethren, transformed into post-life guard dogs to a band of hired mercenaries, controlling their carnivorous charges with some kind of unseen force.
Crow noticed that each of the mercenaries wore an identifying black and red sash wrapped around their right arms, opportunist thugs, dressed in black battle fatigues, enjoying their horrific undertaking with a vicious, mesomeric glee. These soldiers of fortune would occasionally kick the dead, one in particular, a white thug with gold teeth and South African accent, searching for a reaction that never came.
Crow surmised that the sashes were drenched in a concoction steeped in voodoo lore, turning their wearers invisible to the cravings of the undead. Scarecrow watched on, simultaneously fascinated and repulsed by the feasting. He wiped a slither of Vaseline under his nose to block out the pungent smell of rotting flesh, and unzipped his wet-suit, throwing the garment back into a dingy which he allowed to drift back out on the ebb and flow of the waves.
Dressed now in military green battle fatigues, Crow removed his Glock 19 and samurai sword from their plastic wrapping and began the ritual of checking the machine pistol’s chamber for salt damage, none was found. The sword thankfully remained soaked in a strange brie of ebony liquid, now resistent to the glare from the full, low moon. A trick his wife, Yuriko had taught him that served the shadow lotus clan well for a millennia. Everything was in order now concluded Crow; he signaled the HMS Poon glorious off shore with a flashlight. One flash out, one flash back. It was confirmed. The raid would begin at dawn. To regain a small costal town named, Crista Verde, a village vital for Poon Guinea’s supply lines, a foothold that would slice the Baron’s forces in half.
A few small hours remained before hell would descend, an opportunity for Scarecrow to consider recent developments. His vantage point amongst the rocks and crags allowing Crow some precious respite after a series of intense sorties into enemy territory.
Crow considered his upcoming match. Eight Years, eight long years it had been between Nightmare chamber matches. And in that time Scarecrow had rode the lost highway though hell and back. He had been married, lost a family, gained vengeance, lost his memory and his way, regained his path, regained his sense of purpose and vision. Formed a new family in Murder Inc. Then set his sights upon the WCF. To glory, perhaps, finally with Pantheon. If his past had a pattern it would be soul crushing loss followed by a kind of fortune, yet the cost of history was often still too difficult to bare, but bare it he must. In their names of those he lost he would fight on; Yuriko, Madison, Nyssa. Wife, mother and sister.
The nightmare of loss lead on to the nightmare chamber, Scarecrow contemplated the devilish structure; thirty two feet in height, seventy two feet in diameter, a monolithic design dedicated to the absolute destruction of it’s inhabitants. A torturous cell, that would have made the sadistic Torquemada himself proud. Weighing in excess of 20 tons, it’s monstrous frame was ready to sink it’s steel hide all the way to hell. The world had never seen anything like it before. A church built to worship pain. Corey Black’s most iconic, insane vision, given shape and substance by a shared madness only the Dub Cee Eff could understand. During it’s first unveiling, Japanese press at the time called it, “Akuma no asobiba”, the devils playground. Four miles of solid, unbreakable chain choking the life out of it’s occupants, while in each corner of the structure, a steel coffin, containing a vile array of sharpened weaponry, longingly awaiting implementation with a eager, fervent smile.
Eight long years since the monster was last fed. The date, July 13th 2007. The place, Tokyo. And there, in amongst the astonished fans and the screaming sway of the XIII arena staff was one, rather young, Cory Cane. A teenage boy learning from his father’s wise, old teacher; the half Japanese, half Jamaican born sage named, Hanzo Nagasaki.
Here in Japan, the child Cory was comprehending the ways of Kenjutsu; the traditional form of Japanese marital art favoured by the legendary Samurai. That particular days practice had been especially brutal for young master Cane. Sword patterns since dawn, a horrendous climb up a bestial rock face, jagged and raw to the touch. Cold water training to increase Cory’s teenage pain threshold to limits grown men could barely stomach. Even the spectacle that was about to transpire in front of him was a task. An important one, for young Cory was about to witness a life and death struggle unfold as glorious theatre. What truth would his young heart unravel from the experience?
The next day, Hanzo Nagasaki knelt in the traditional seiza position outside his humble wooden minka, that rested high above the pine trees and mists of Mount Nishigatake. Hanzo Nagasaki favoured this design of simple dwelling, for while it was not in keeping with samurai culture to occupy such a modest triangular angled home, it suited his needs and helped to focus his attention on the immediate task at hand. Cultivating the development of this young boy to meet the unique challenges life, as the son of Silas Cane, would soon command.
The old man was dressed, as per usual, in his blue and black gi. His bare feet rested on a simple tatami floor, laid out below a small, humble table. His long mass of black and greying dreads were tried neatly back. His well groomed, long whispery beard showed signs of life in a gentle, early morning breeze. Four small white food bowls were laid out in front of Hanzo Nagasaki, resting neatly on the table. Two contained steamed rice, freshly cooked. The others were pipping hot Miso soup. Two bowls of fresh tea accompanied the dishes, as did the master Samuari’s precious chalice, a bong comprised from an imported, hollowed out coconut. Usually, Hanzo Nagasaki and Cory would have consumed their beverages, food, and Chalices by now, all the while discussing the rudimentary aspects of combat as the sun creeped at a measured, steady pace over the impressive mountain range. But today, the teacher could forgive his charges misdemeanor. After all, Cory had only returned home four hours previously. The streets of Tokyo gripped with the buzzing atmosphere of the XIII event, causing the capital’s streets to suffer massive congestion as it’s infrastructure buckled under the weight of singular wrestling history.
A few moments passed before Cory arrived, dressed in jeans, a Sonic Youth tee and enthusiasm. The young crow bounced with an eagerness to the tatami mat, bowed politely and knelt, mirroring his teacher’s stance.
“I wasn’t expecting breakfast so late, Master Nagasaki. Not after sunrise”
“De sun rises wen de warrior ah reddi, Young Crow. Sit. Eat. Then da Chalice.”
Cory picked up his chop sticks.
“Rice looks good”
“Miso looks better” Added Crow.
Time passed, as the sun reached it’s invertible apex, morning in full swing as master and student continued their conversation.
“So how did dis Corey Black fella win out ova iz rival? Wat did he possess ova dat Skyla Strika?” Enquired Hanzo Nagasaki.
“It was strange last night, different. Every time I’d seen Corey Black before in competition, he always appeared restless, on edge, as if he didn’t belong anywhere. Like he’d been cut out of a newspaper and pasted into the wrong scrap book. But last night, all that changed. He was at home, as if the chamber understood him. Welcomed him. Whatever darkness lives in that man’s soul, it found a way to take root in that arena, to build walls and link chains. To rivet bolts and forge steel. That chamber WAS Corey Black. Skyler Striker was trapped, swallowed whole inside the belly of creeping death himself, slowly decomposing as time ticked away. You could see it in Skyler’s eyes. No Hurricanrana could save him.
“Hurricanrana. It’s that luchador stuff I told you about.”
“Ah ya, ‘course, guh on”
“No sneaky Hurricanrana could save Striker. No ineffectual trash can lid could hinder Corey. It was as if the victory became...I think the word is preordained. Does that make sense?”
“Yeah, preordained, as if Corey and the cell were one. The same heartbeat. Striker had the company in the palm of his hands going into this match, he was the world champion, untouchable. He seemed unstoppable. Like that Balfore guy. But that Word championship, it had no jurisdiction inside that cell. Inside the chamber, Corey was ALWAYS the champion. Even before the bell rang. This was his world, and Striker? Was merely a virus, a foreign body, out of his depth and out of time.”
“An de lesson learned iz?”
“Set the trap, kill the man” answered the teenage Cory. Cold. Calculating. Reason on the edge of a bloodied knife.
Hanzo Nagasaki sipped his tea. The sky drank in a deep blue ocean above the heavenly mountains. Nature brought harmony, man brought murder. The samurai knew there was real darkness inside Cory, a darkness that had to be tempered with knowledge, his skills honed for a purpose.
“Its ah bitta world wi live in, Young Crow. Savour de moments dat allow ya to think oderwise”
Who was that? The voice was familiar, but not to this Young Crow. Nor his master. Nor this era.
“Hey, did you hear that?” Enquired Young Crow.
There it was again.
“What the fuck?” Young Crow was losing it, surly.
“ HEY PISST! SCARECROW!!”
Reality snapped Scarecrow back to the beach, yanked from the heart of his memory banks like a bungie rope wrapped round the legs of the Murder machine. Although, something must have gone wrong in the process, his ocular sensors must have been fried, because crouched there, dripping with water from his battle fatigues, emptying a gallon of ocean and a school of fish from his helmet, while wiping burning salt water from his tired, middle aged eyes was one...Hank Brown.
“What in the fuck are you doing here, Brown?”
“Erm, I think Seth wants me to die.”
Hank’s body shook with the night air, he had snuck on board the HMS Poonglorious as it left dock from Gibraltar. The frigate spent several days there, refueling it’s compliment of attack choppers and arming it’s missile defense system with a new array of high yield warheads. And now here Hank stood, ever the loyal servant of the Dub Cee Eff, under appreciated, under valued. Destined to chronicle the lives of everyone, except his own. A watcher until death. Which in this instance, might just be around the corner.
“Seriously, the fuck Hank. This is a war zone”
“Orders are from high, you gotta cut some...some”
Hank sneezed. Instinctively the interviewer placed his hand over his mouth so as to muffle the sound; he needn’t have worried though, the dead are messy, loud eaters.
“...shoots for this match.” Concluded Hank.
“Jayson Price wouldn’t have made that call. Who’s pushing your buttons on this one, Hank? Not Seth, surly”
“Lerch thinks you’re shirking your responsibilities by doing this UN peacekeeper gig. He said something about contractual obligations.”
“Remind me to fit those obligations squarely up his broke azz when I see him”
“Or you could tell him yourself.” Hank removed a small digital camcorder from a plastic covering concealed in his backpack. It had a heavy duty case designed for covering war torn landscapes. In one aspect, it would appear, Hank was prepared for this mission.
Scarecrow rolled his eyes. Then smiled. Maybe in a weird way, this was perfect. This whole dawn raid. The fight to regain freedom for an island people steeped in Dub Cee Eff lore, to set a marker for individuality and uniqueness; it was what Crow was all about. Had ALWAYS been about. Nothing had changed in that regard.
“When I say, you’re gonna do two things, Hank”
“One, fire up that ancient ‘corder and point. And two...”
Scarecrow took the safety off the Gloch 19. Murder Machine: Back On line.
“Keep your fucking head down.”
Chapter Two: “I’ll See You On The Beach.”
Destruction rained down over the Poon Guinea beach. Dawn had arrived; and with it, a six foot six, two hundred and fifty eight pound man was administering total carnage. The previous hours had seen Scarecrow sever the arm off a mercenary, calmly watching the event as the merc became lunch for his own pet. Crow now had an armband, as did Hank brown, who was now covering every miniscule moment of chaos on that camcorder of his. Capturing Crow marching calmly up the beach, pockets of orange fire exploding all round him as a squadron of attack helicopters, lead by “The Iron Crow”, Scarecrow’s personal Huey chopper, that spat a torrent of chain gun mayhem across the raging beachhead. New York Cadavers; Ramona Bliss, Suzi Haze and Maxine Riot spun a tapestry of hate upon the monsters below with each merciless bullet fired. Apparently, there’s no Hippocratic oath for the already dead.
Down at ground level, a mercenary swung a machete wildly at Crow, who reacted quickly, swiftly delivering a single bullet from his Gloch 19 to the Merc’s forehead. A small entry point betraying the slaughterhouse that the exit hole became.
Time for that Shoot then.
“First things first. They should remain this company, “Dub Cee Deaf”, because you people only seem to hear what you want to hear. You select sound bites and call them truths. You join dots that suit your narrow minded purpose and baptize them history. I join Pantheon, and it’s supposed to be the biggest sell out this side of the Iraq war. Strange, that no one called me out when I hired Roxxi Chainsaw to be my manager. Strange, that no one spoke up when I formed Murder Inc. But when the name Pantheon is mentioned, then the knives are out. Because a “Lone Wolf” Scarecrow isn’t as much of a threat as a Scarecrow with a support system, a Scarecrow with friends and family.”
"I’ve ALWAYS said that change is good, that to evolve is good. This isn’t hypocrisy your witnessing, this is evolution. I change, I embrace it and understand it and make provision for it. Said this a THOUSAND TIMES. Always have. Occulo showed his true colors when he backed out of this match. For him, and Joey Flash and Odin Balfore, it’s okay have a Scarecrow around that’s a wounded, bitter man. But one that’s happy? One that embraces the future and lives to fight wars for friends, because HONOR to some actually still counts? Well, that Scarecrow’s is just too damn much to handle, we gotta shoot THAT fucker down.”
Crow sprays a charging garrison of Mercenaries with the Gloch pistol, there bodies exploding into piecemeal.
“So, Joey. I gotta ask you. Does the bullets in the skulls of those prig bitches at my feet answer your fucking question? Oh Joey, you fucking crack me up, prick! You say, why King Murder? When I’ve been dee gawd damn murder machine numa one of your nightmares since hour zero. Or did that oh so extensive research team somehow fail you on that matter? Ya fucking ant hill dipshit! Look around you, Nyquil! My knees are soaked deep in the blood of the dead. Everything I touch either dies or becomes corrupted somehow. I try to tame it, quantify it, direct the madness I create and, If I’m really fucking lucky, use it for good. But in all honesty? Sometimes, I revel in the chaos that I inhabit. There’s a peace here. I can trust the horror. That’s why no Oblivion will ever truly terrify me, even if they bring me to the point of death itself. Because this is where I truly belong. Now, go find me a cop that could cope with this, and let’s see if your pathetic analogy fits then.”
Scarecrow calmly decapitates two zombies.
“Sorry ZMAC, I just fucked up ya mother! Now, where was I? Oh yeah, Joey Flash. You say I betrayed my principles? Is that fucking so? You seem to have steam rising from those heels of yours, so quick to jump into bed with old Sethilitis. Just look at that one eighty you’ve just pulled. That betrayal of everything you cried your little pizon heart out for after that battle with Seifer Black for the contendership of the TV title. All this, without even a slow burn epiphany to dull the switch. You just jumped the fuck in didn’t you when the opportunity to run with Seth and Odin came up, head first, spitting in the mirror and flipping yourself the bird as you did so."
"For a fucking pay rise? Is that why you raged against Seth for all those months? You’re a flip, Joey. A rat who scurries to the boots of his master, tongue lashing out, giving those size eights of Lerch a good licking. Chewing on the nuggets of turd you find there like gold from up high. You fucking worm!"
SWOOSH! The samurai sword lets a Zombie militia take the fall, the blade carries on, decapitating the head of a charging Mercenary. Two for one at the Scarecrow beach party.
BOOM! A mercenary foxhole is incinerated close by, a shower of blood and sand rain down on Scarecrow and Hank
“JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!” Screams Hank. Crow walks on, unphased. Bulletproof to the word around him.
“You’re no goombah, Joey, If I said, “Costa Nostra”, you’d probably try and order it with a half n’ half at Starbucks. You couldn’t ice a tea. A clip, is something you watch on you lube. Each morning at that mansion of yours you wake up and act out the life and times of Tony fuccin’ Montana, you’re a dime a dozen fool with aspirations of manhood. You have no substance, the old guard mobsters dragged themselves from the gutter. They sought escape through violence because the alternative was to drown in poverty. What’s your fucking excuse? My Cousin Vinny? You have no true desperation to run from, no gutter to rise above, you’re a cardboard soap opera that the world fell asleep to a long time ago. That’s why you’ll never ascend to the absolute top, because when you dig deep, when you peel away all the surface angst you have, all that teenage girl suffering between your legs, there’s nothing there. Grime had you dead bang because he was simply the next in line. He’s nothing special, just the right man, at the right time, to remove the wrong champion. You’ve simply expired Joey. The meter ticked over and you ran out of time. We all see through the rage now, mister Nyquil, and man, do you like to fucking rage! You rage, and rage, and rage some more, and for what? Because everyone is at least a step ahead of you, even your own wife? You’re a small fish in a tiny pond, who’s suddenly decided to pull a suicidal mission to eradicate it’s own azz, by jumping headlong into an ocean of shit named the nightmare chamber. And once there? No one’s gonna find you Joey Nemo. You’re gonna drown as you face the Rapture, drown as you succumb to Creeping death. Hell, even Balfore will probably kill you just for shits and giggles, just to kebab your azz on a spike, and use you as a fucking battering ram. Just to see if it can be done. You’re just dead weight, Joey. The shield Seth Lerch stands behind while he prays for daddy to pick up the phone."
You’ve letting your family down, Joey. Listen to me, for these words carry the weight of loss and regret. Do not fail them by continuing to use them as bit part players in your little wise guy soap opera, otherwise they’ll be taken from you.
Scarecrow cuts the head off a female militia zombie, her pretty long black hair plumes outward as her putrid head is removed from a rotting, staggering carcass.
Crow decapitates a Zombie child, no more than six years old. Scarecrow remains cold to the tragedy. Compassion slows down the senses.
A swift flurry of movement as Crow completes the cycle, silencing the moans of shoulder length haired militia. A once dark haired, handsome man, corrupted by a poison into a hate machine for others to puppeteer and control.
“What is it about me that scares you fuckers so much? What do you see in me that makes you quake in your boots, while I lace up mine? So I have the peoples championship, so what? It’s low on the pecking order, everyone knows that. I’m not the centerpiece of the company. I’ve been here, what? Exactly four and a half months? That’s barely green around the gills time. And yet, here I stand. On this blood soaked beach, fighting a righteous war, while one half of the WCF looks on and aims their dum dum bullets at me, missing every time. Because you can’t aim straight with jealously. You can’t hit a target with envy. Your all a mile wide and counting. Your hate of me only slows you down. And that’s a good thing, because I like a quick, clean kill.”
A Mercenary raises his arms, the same one that kicked the zombie on the beach earlier, he gins, revealing a mouth full of gold teeth.
BAM! End of discussion. No prisoners today.
“He was...he was going to surrender” Stuttered a shocked Hank, ears bleeding with the human tragidy unfolding all around him.
Crow nonchalantly kicked over the body of the mercenary and inspected his back. A hand cannon resided there, taped to his shoulder blades.
“Yeah, I saw that movie too, prick”
Crow smerked, it was trick worthy of the next name on his kill list.
“Seth Lerch. The master of Puppets, the architect of chaos. The man that sat upon the throne, owner of all he could behold. Now dragged, down into the dirt with the other scum. So, would you like to hear the lie that will comfort you, or the truth that will terrify you?”
Too bad, you get the truth.
“I have already won. I won the day this match was made and you accepted the terms. You could have balked, ran. But you didn’t. Unlike that rat bastard coward, Occulo, you stayed. Gritted your teeth. And dug deep into a fox hole of self delusion. How are the rations down there in never, never land? You holding out until the Balfore cavalry arrives? Do you even understand what this match is? It’s been a long time since you last strolled into a wrestling ring in an actual competitive match, longer still since you actually stood a chance. We all know where “Wrestling Seth”, now resides. Look above the clouds, past the pearly gates and there he is, having a chit chat with the ice age."
"I see you hanging out with Rick Mad for help. Giving the task of wrestling lip service s you fumble your way through one training session after another. Drinking getting more than even you can handle, Seth? Part of me hopes so, because you’ve got a shit ton to answer for."
But not to me.
"It would be churlish of me to consider that the casual hatred we share has any real bearing on this match. It doesn’t. But what does plot our course towards mutually assured destruction is the event that took place one Sunday night in February, a Slam segment. Nothing special. Just the night you decided to set the monster free."
"You wanted to, “Put me to the test”, so you unleashed Oblivion and told him to put on a show. Teach the kid a lesson. And a pregnant woman died in my name because of it. Gutted, eviscerated on live television. So tell me, what bother you now? Oh yeah, I remember. Pizza boxes and hangovers.”
“Remember when you were a human being, Seth? Perhaps it was a brief flirtation. A passing glance in the school corridor. It never took in the end. You were dead inside the day the pediatrician cut the umbilical cord and you first tasted fresh air.”
“Seth Lerch, how many times have you walked out on stage at a Slam to master of puppets and heard the jeers of the crowd? How many times have you tore your hair out and flung yourself to the mat, trying desperately to appease a non plussed audience too anesthetized to your bullshit to fall for it again? Thats the kind of pain that changes a man. That kills a man inside out.”
“Flash forward a few years and it’s the time of Treachery. People forget Treachery. It’s kind of easy to do. Big noise for a few moments, then the fire died. They did some damage of course, but in the end, it as always Logan’s show. With you hanging on to the coat tails for dear life. Out there, “making plays”, while Connector city was lite up with gold titles and epic matches. See Seth, what you are is a, Starfucker.”
“Think about that, Odin.The next time Seth pats you on the azz after that last round of Golf.”
“Yeah...Starfucker Seth. Likes to keep his toys in their original boxes. Likes to admire them on the shelf. Likes to have collector editions of all his staff members. Salivates over them. Worships them, to a fashion. Toy soldiers, all in a row. Never questioning, never thinking for themselves. Never out of line. Never out of the box. Because if they did, if they broke the seal and ran free, then they would know the truth about Seth Lerch. About the sociopath that can only connect with reality by being, “close”, to the fire. Living vicariously through he hate and the pain he administers to others. Only on that night in February, he crossed the line, he broke the seal on a box he didn’t own. He set loose the monster on a innocent woman, and felt nothing afterward. Because now no one matter to Seth Lerch. Contract or no contract. And that makes him a menace. A legitimate target. You’re just as much a monster now as Oblivion, Seth. You’ve earned your stripes to set foot into the Hammerstein Ballroom on Friday the thirtieth. You’ve earned the honor of having the cage door shut on you. To become MY boxed toy, a special edition. The final print run on Seth Lerch, limited to one, burnt, broken and beaten copy.”
The Mercenary stairs. Some life remains, but not for long. A swift execution finishes the job. BAM! To the back of the head as the squadron of choppers fly overhead back to base.
“I’m putting you on the shelf, Seth. For good.”
Chapter Three: “GMXL.”
Dusk approached, they were penned inside a church.
It all felt full circle for the Scarecrow. Four months ago a raging, half mad Cory had thrown scorn on his first opponent, one Marcus Adams for having the bare faced termarity to try and seek redemption in the house of the lord. He belittled a man who was simply trying to pick up the pieces of his life and make them better. Scarecrow was a world away from the man he is now, his memory has a healing scar rather than an open wound, his motivations selective and honest. Crow looked around the church, just by the pulpit where three statues, three marble effigies to a triad of mythical heroes. Robert Hercules Cairo, Jam Willy Jesus, and Odin Balfore.
Scarecrow looked at the Odin statue and studied it’s dimensions, there were accurate. If a little extenuated downstairs. Below him where the last twenty living souls of the town. Huddled together in a wine cellar. Preying that the Scarecrow could pull off a miracle and save them.
“We’re going to die in here, aren’t we?” Sighed a dejected Hank Brown. Camcorder tight in his knucle white grip.
Crow checked his provisions, he was out of clips for the Gloch 19. His sword remained in tact, but with no ammunition he would have to engage the best outside in single combat. A suicidal gesture towards the might of Russian military hardware.
Outside the church, the slow whine of caterpillar tracks could be heard trundling along it’s destructive path as a Russian T-90 Tank, in the possession of the Baron’s forces, made it’s presence felt through the town of Crista Verde. A piazza of marble and stone was being turned to dust with each blast from it’s main turret, and with it, hundreds of years of history was evaporating on a cloud of chaos.
One final provision check. Just a samurai sword, and a flare gun. Maybe, just MAYBE it would be enough.
“Fire up the camcorder, Hank. This is the moment..we begin to live”
Scarecrow stood in front of the statues. He thought about what he was about to do. Carefully considers his actions, their ramifications. It seemed apt. It was simply time to let the hate go.
Scarecrow knelt before the statues. Made the sign of the cross and stood. He looked into the eyes of the marble all father and spoke. His voice fired up with both anger and reverence.
“Today, you’ve that Tank outside Odin Balfore. Circling this church. Like a buzzard on heat. Like a whale roaring for the harPOON. While I stand in here, staring at the man you once were. Worshiping him. Praying that he can return at XIII and become the all father again. But time is not on your side. And unfortunately for you. Neither am I.”
Crow picks up the Sword, lets the hilt fall against his forehead as the blade points down, taps it there as he thinks. Then in a moment of fast blurred movement, he motions to the double doors of the church.
“What began this? It seems so long ago now. I word written on a hand? A shove out of place at One? Did the day you offered me ANY MATCH I WANTED, expecting me to say, “Odin Balfore”, but instead asking for ICE Beckman kill you? You say I pushed your button, that I dragged your azz out of the fire. That your a wizard up top a mountain, you roll the patois good. But you’re slow on the up take when it comes to manipulation. Not mine, oh no, I’m talking about Seth Lerch.”
“How long has it been since Seth told you no more title chances, three years? That’s a long time to decompose, to rot away wearing the face of Odin Balfore, but not the balls. Not the thick. Three years since Seth muted your life, your career. And with each passing year, you move further and further away from the possibility of a comeback. Remember when you first retired, they had your billboard at the front of the offices back in Pennsylvania, the cornerstone of Xanadu. Now where is it? The back of the fucking carpark. Your feet covered in dog shit while your skulls a home for wayward pigeon crap. Its a sad, pathetic mess Balfore. They tore down a giant and put up a parking lot.”
Crow walked towards the doors of the church. Feet on marble floor. The end so very near. The tank, waiting.
“What’s the life expectancy of a pro Wrestler, twenty years at their optimum? Bobby Cairo is a different animal, he’ll probably outlast us all, but then, he’s not seven feet tall, or three hundred pounds. When you drop a Bobby Cairo, he can bounce back, drop Odin Balfore? Well, that’s dead weight hitting the mat. Size doesn’t equal robustness, not when you hit a certain age. Bones don’t bounce back for Odin Balfore, they either snap, or they crack. His physiology has but two options, either the environment gives way, or it leaves it’s mark. And Odin, has a lot of marks.”
“Crow, don’t”, whispered Hank. There was no chance Scarecrow could pull this off.
“History always betrays it’s heroes in the end. Fate plays the femme fatal, saving the kiss of death for the last scene to play out. Just one more run in the tired nag, only it’s heart gives out and the scene ends. Poignant, but never a lesson learned. Hence, we have Odin back in the ring.”
“Back in twenty twelve, Seth told you no more world title chances, so you sulked and you moped. And now here we are, three years later, with your azz firmly in Seth’s grim little pocket, and there it is, in the dark recesses of his vile pit of hate, that idea. That wild, improbable idea, that if you hang with Seth long enough, if you lick his boots just a little bit more, that he’ll let you taste the jizz from his thick and seal the deal on another title run. Just one more. You know in your heart what you should of done, Balfore. You should of taken Jonny Fly’s advice, Nordic Tank. You should of just hung out on the couch and played with your dried out clit.”
Crow gestured back to the marble eddifce of the all father.
“The statue of limitation ran out on Odin Balfore, but the echoes of past glories remained, buzzing like a lecherous wasp, teasing it’s host with falsehoods. “You still got it, Balfore!”, “Your the All-father, Balfore”. “Teach this punk azz bitch a lesson!” Sirens of legends old used to lead sailors to the rocks. History now leads pro wrestlers to their demise. Legends always have a ring of truth about them, in this case it’s twenty by twenty, and resides in the Hammersmith ballroom. It’s incased within a Nightmare Chamber, it’s the moment an Odin Balfore faces a Scarecrow. It’s the sickening snap of a Norse spine upon the knee of the Murder Machine.”
Crow threw the doors open on the church and faced the T-90. It huge dirty grey and green chases swung round as Crow ran, past the devastation of the piazza as the chamber of the turret was loaded with a huge shell.
BAM! A shop front annihilated! Crow was thrown several feet behind an overturned, rusted Volkswagon van, undead looks on impassively as they continued to feast upon a screaming child.
Crow loaded the Flare gun. Leaped.
The shell was loading into the chamber of the tank, the turret almost ready to fire. Screams inside in Russian.
Crow with the Flare gun, aiming. Twisting and turning in the air with unnatural ease. Years of training in perfect synchronicity with the cause.
Crow fired the gun down the barrel of the turret! His body ducked and rolled as he landed, a moment of chaos inside as the T-90 crew tried to outthink the moment. But destiny had decided. The tank EXPLODED! The turret ripped asunder as Crow crashed onto a hot dog stand. Thanking those kings of the bratwurst as he did do.
“Holy fucking shit. He did it! HE DID IT!”
Chapter Four: “The Nightmare Never Ends.”
A cacophony of celebration gripped the liberated village; the sound of sporadic gunfire echoed across the azure and oak horizon as day relinquished it’s hold and night fell. Now sparks of tracer fire sought out the last savage pockets of resistance as Scarecrow opened a bottle of 1861 chardonnay and enjoyed the liquids fine breeding.
Crow was perched on top of the roof to the mayor building. It was one of the few that still remained intact. Sipped on the wine and smiled.
“There’s an old Sean Connery movie from the nineteen seventies called the man who would be king. Connery plays an adventurer seeking his fortune, he travels over mountains and through snowstorms and eventually he finds, with his trusted hetro life partner, a far away land. There, an incident with an arrow happens, that the locals see as a divine sign. They begin to believe Connery’s a God. And they worship him, and bow to him, eventually they cast that arrow in gold and Connery takes to carrying it around like a baton through the fields and into his newly minted palace, like it’s an extension of his mighty dubbya oh-thick. But then he makes that fatal mistake. That horrible error. He beings to BELIEVE he’s a God. So now, he sits upon a throne, and make plans to change everything, to set up a society dedicated to him and his hubris. He wants to do good, but he’s blinded by his own ambition and his misplaced deity complex.”
“Connery set’s himself up as a God, but that only gets him so far, and the inevitable happens, his mortality is exposed, and the populace of this far way land turn on him. They tear him to pieces, they rip him apart and decapitate his still screaming skull. “What they did to Danny”, murmurs a broken and destitute Michael Caine,will haunt him friend for the rest of his life. They broke a good man who fell from the pedestal of humility, and plummeted into an abyss of arrogance.”
“Some of that is you, Balfore. The arrow is your career, one you fought for with an intensity and courage few have seen. It’s a precious artifact. But now, it’s losing it’s sheen, it tainted. By Seth Lerch. He’s dragging you down to his level. You just can’t see that what you are now, you’re the turtle neck that pops out of Seth’s azz when a talent gives him indigestion. The fixer, and nothing more. You think this act you're pulling each week legitimizes you? Pretending to be the talent relations guy. But with each passing week you become more and more a clown, Balfore. You play at being Drake Cannon, but let me tell you something, you ain’t no fucking Drake Cannon. You ain’t even close, you’re vapor to Drake Cannon. Rest holds from the rest home. Your a 3 am golden hour repeat on the network. Your career is a soluble memory, slipping though the fingers of time. The world is letting go of Odin Balfore. It used him up and chewed out his career. And all that’s left is an old man crying for the past to leave him a forwarding address.”
“The sun always sets on the halcyon days. You can only hang into those last rays of light for so long, and then they’re gone. Leaving you alone in the dark. The quite, tender night. Now, if you have made peace with the clock and come to terms with the fickleness of fate then it’s all alright, then you still get to keep the nods of respect and the hushed whispers of admiration. But if you scream and rage and bitch against the inevitable, then you wind up being Odin Balfore, version twenty fifteen: a blind wounded animal. A dog yanked on a lead, sucker punched into being an azz busted pet slave to a megalomaniacal douchbag who’s own brittle, twisted, fucked up ego would rather see himself hang in a suicidal match than be seen as just the mere human being that he is.”
“And what of you Odin? Don’t you get it? Your career, it was that golden arrow that connery carried. But unlike that arrow it was REAL. Built upon the backs of the matches you won. And now, as we step inside that nightmare chamber, with you on Seth’s leash, that arrow, it snaps. Maybe not here where the people will always love you. But at Hammerstein? Around the world? The rot will set in. The one thing you had left Odin was your legacy, at XIII that sets sail on a viking barge, burning bright under a sun that no longer cares what happens to the all father. The man who would be king, the man that was once a God, now cuckold to a rat in a suit, licking his boots and calling him “masta.” You’re the Vegas showgirl that the casino boss keeps around after the lights go down on her career. The old slag with the runny mascara and the fake tits. The cocaine dealer curing each new line on her face as the grubby little shits she used to swat away, grab and feel and she has to make nice and like it.”
The arrow just snapped, Odin.
“Odin, you’re Seth Lerch’s viagra, he sees you walk through the door and a tiny sumthin, sumthin in his crotch snorts awake. A tiny manhood sees a mighty thick and thinks it can hang. And it will hang, on a noose tided around the throat of Seth Lerch. I would personally just like to add that I’m looking forward to having Rick Mad back as the boss of Dub Cee Eff.”
“At XIII I’ll murder you, Balfore. At Explosion I’ll bury you. Earth to Earth, ashes to ashes, a God...to dust.”
“Is Balfore on the same page as Seth? Is Seth on the same page as Balfore? Does Joey Nyquil know what a page metaphor is? The simple facts are these, you’re facing a unified force, your a cut and paste job. Your held together by a thin solution of history and influence. There might have been a time when that was enough, when the conniving spirit of Seth, the brute, inordinate strength of Odin and the...well, two out of three might have got it done. But now, in 2015? Nah Jack. You three ain’t got shit on us. This ain’t no Rolling Stones comeback tour. Jurassic park let loose upon the world, Pantheon has evolved. I have evolved. I keep changing, becoming into the man I need to be. In this war, this nightmare,you either triumph together, of fail apart. We three stand together.”
“Seth Lerch, Joey Flash, Odin Balfore. If a face could have three sides it would be yours. That’s an ironic term when you think about it, because while your all constantly in a spin dry of self denial and self betrayal, neither of you could be called a fan favorite, could you? And as simple as it sounds, that’s what resides at the core of all of this. The fans, the people.”
Crow toasted the celebrations below, and prepared himself for the nightmare to come.